Our Team

The journey to start Allies began when Chris visited a Russian orphanage with his church on a short-term mission trip. Learning about the plight of orphans in Russia broke his heart and birthed a determination to save the lives of those children. Allies was formed in 2011 to help orphans and has since transformed the lives of thousands of children across four continents.

Chris holds a B.A. from Mississippi State University and a Master’s of Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Ten years as a small business owner and 15 years on staff at a local church provided Chris with the leadership skills and know-how to successfully create an organization that will influence generations across the globe.

Dr. Tatiana Baeva is responsible for instituting the mentorship program that has become the core of how Allies in Youth Development has changed the lives of thousands of orphans. She is our liaison between the United States and 10 other countries where she continues to expand our connections around the world.

Dr. Baeva has a Ph.D. in Russian and a master’s degree in English. She taught Russian, literature, and other subjects at Russian and American universities for 18 years, 10 of which were at University of Texas at Arlington. She created a summer abroad program for UTA and has taken students to Russia for several years, including trips with Allies.

She also volunteered for six years editing the Russian literary and art magazine Leaves. Her hobbies include reading, languages and bilingualism, early childhood education, and neurosciences. Dr. Baeva loves to work on projects helping children and people in need.

 

A native of Huntsville, Alabama, Karen graduated from Madison Academy and holds a B.A. and an M.A. in Communication from Abilene Christian University. She began her career in development at Abilene Christian University, followed by positions at Southwest Christian School, Christ’s Haven for Children, Fort Worth Christian School, and Missions Resource Network.

Karen and her husband, David, currently live in Keller and have two children and one grandson. With a heart for missions, they support many foreign and domestic missionaries and are active members of The Hills Church in North Richland Hills.

 

Margie grew up in Mississippi before moving to Texas in 2005. She left her 20-year career as a lead revenue analyst at Atmos Energy Corporation in 2016 and enjoyed volunteering at various nonprofit organizations. Margie was introduced to Allies through her church and volunteered for several years before God and His miraculous ways led her to join the Allies staff in December 2017.

She loves working alongside Allies volunteers and building relationships with others. Margie also had the privilege of traveling to Russia with Allies twice where she felt at home with the area leaders and enjoyed witnessing the positive impact of the mentoring program on the children.

Margie enjoys reading, designing and drafting residential home plans, and taking road trips with her husband, Dale. Together, they have three daughters.

 

 

Debbie has been passionate about volunteerism and missions since she was a young adult. She and her husband, Bob, have taken countless mission trips both at home and abroad and have been members of Rush Creek Church for more than 20 years. Most recently, they opened their home to two Russian students during the first Omsk Student Cultural Exchange Program hosted by Allies in 2019.

Debbie has also been an interior designer for 34 years and owned her own design company for 28 years, but is excited to be working where her passion is by helping to empower orphans. Debbie and Bob live in Mansfield and have five children and nine grandchildren. .

 

Karen and her husband, Larry, have been loyal supporters of Allies from the beginning. Their hearts were touched when Founder and CEO Chris Burgin shared his vision for helping orphans. Karen and Larry always had a special desire to serve children and have taught children’s Sunday school at their church for many years.

Karen grew up in west Texas in Abilene and Cisco. She received a B.A. in business administration from Baylor University and had a 40-year career as a corporate tax accountant for several companies, including 24 years with Johnson & Johnson in Arlington. Karen and Larry live in Mansfield and have two daughters and three grandsons, the joys of her life.

 

Travis has served in ministry for the last eight years, most recently as pastor of Walnut Ridge Baptist Church West Campus in Mansfield. He graduated with a B.A. from Middle Tennessee State University and is currently finishing his Master of Divinity at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Travis became interested in the mission of Allies at the first banquet where he was touched by the testimonies of children and saw the need Allies met in their lives. He and his wife, Amy, have lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for the last 24 years where they are raising three children and two dogs.

Frederick first connected with Allies when he served as a volunteer to earn extra credit for Dr. Tatiana Baeva’s Russian class at University of Texas at Arlington. Compelled by the stories Chris Burgin and Dr. Baeva told of the orphans’ plight abroad, he continued to work with Allies even after he finished the academic semester.

In fall of 2017, Frederick became the volunteer coordinator intern and took his first trip with Allies to Eastern Europe. He graduated from UTA that semester with his bachelor’s degree in critical languages and international studies with a focus in Russian and a minor in creative writing. He was moved by the work he saw happening in Eastern Europe so he went to Vietnam for four months after graduating and scouted for potential areas that Allies could start working with to empower the orphans there. He is very happy to now serve as Vietnam Coordinator.

 

 

Zhenya (Douglas) Waybourn was born in Russia in 1991 and grew up in an orphanage until he was 14. He and his two brothers were then adopted by a family in Arlington, Texas. After attending Tarrant County College, he worked for Alcon for eight years.

In 2014, Douglas met Michael Henshaw, a frequent traveler with Allies, who shared his love for orphans and the mission of Allies. Douglas was eager to get involved and took his first trip to Russia with the group in 2015 where he saw firsthand how big the needs of orphans are there.

After taking six trips with Allies, Douglas decided to move to Russia and now resides at Orion orphan village, a two-hour drive south of Moscow. He serves the community there by teaching English at the school and helping the children. His passions are photography and serving the orphans.

Nick Williams assists in the execution of marketing initiatives and provides website development and web-related services. Nick graduated from Abilene Christian University with a Bachelor of Arts and dual major in Advertising and Graphic Design, after an initial interest in Computer Science. Nick and his wife, Rebecca, have been on short-term mission trips to Honduras, Philippines, Germany, Hungary and others. Nick and Rebecca also served as house parents for a children's home in Keller. Nick lives in the Fort Worth area with his wife, three sons, and two mixed lab dogs.

 

Carla had an unexpected, sudden interest to learn about Russia’s history in the mid-1990s which then led to her studying the Russian language. Many years later, she felt an urgency to study Russian even more and soon after was at a retreat where a woman shared about her experience traveling to Russia with Allies the previous year. That connection paved the way for Carla to meet Chris and take her first trip to Russia with Allies in 2013. She has since journeyed on more than a dozen trips to Russia, Moldova, and Peru.

Carla was born and raised in Japan to missionary parents and has worked as an alliance sales manager at American Airlines for more than 25 years. She lives in Bedford and attends Ash Lane United Methodist Church, formerly Euless First United Methodist Church. Carla has a heart for helping people and takes the opportunity to do so whenever she can through her church and work.

Originally from Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, Heather graduated from Radford University with a bachelor’s degree in print journalism. She worked as a reporter for newspapers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Virginia before becoming a stay at home mom for many years.

Heather and her five children live in Mansfield where they attend Walnut Ridge Baptist Church and enjoy serving the local community by volunteering regularly at the library and nursing home. After a 2011 mission trip serving orphans in Haiti, Heather’s heart for orphans grew exponentially. She is honored to use her writing and editing background for an organization that is doing so much for children and others around the world.

 

Mike was born and raised in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and currently works for Live Event Video Productions. He graduated from the University of North Texas with a B.A. in radio, television, and film where he also studied the Russian language and Russian history and literature. Since his college days, he hoped to one day travel to Russia and joining the Allies team in 2018 gave him that opportunity. Mike has since taken trips to Russia and Moldova with Allies and said it was very special to meet Allies volunteers in those areas.